It took him forty minutes to get to the hotel and, by the time he knocked on the door, every fear and doubt he had rose to the surface. He lowered his head and gave himself a pep talk. His head jerked up when the door opened. She had on a pair of shorts and an oversized tee, and her hair had been pulled back in a loose ponytail, and the sight of her made his heart race.
Faith said nothing at first. Then, “What are you doing here?”
“May I come in? Please.”
She backed up, and waved him in, and then stood with her arms folded. Waiting.
“I want to apologize for everything I said. I was wrong.”
“Okay. Thanks for the apology. I need to finish packing.”
His brow lifted. “Are you moving in with your dad?”
“No. I’m going home.”
His fear magnified. He moved closer to her and reached for her hand. She took a step back. “I messed up, Faith. I don’t want you to go, sweetheart. I love you. I was selfish and wrong. Dead wrong. That position belongs to you and you should take it.”
She eyed him. “Why are you being so nice all of a sudden? Did your father put you up to this?”
Brandon let out a frustrated sigh. “No. I came because I love you and want you back.”
“Brandon, I don’t want your love because you feel guilty.”
“That’s not it. I’ll admit to being guilty for shoving my feet in my mouth again, but my love for you is true.”
Faith studied him a long moment, then shook her head. “I can’t do this, Brandon. I think it’s best we leave things the way they are. And you’ll be happy that I’m not living here so you’ll be free to run your company any way you want.” Something like regret flickered in her eyes briefly, then it was gone. She cleared her throat. “If you’ll excuse me, I need to finish packing. My plane leaves in the morning.” She opened the door. “Goodbye, Brandon.”
The tears in her eyes were killing him. Brandon wanted to take her in his arms and promise never to hurt her again. He lifted his hand to touch her and she shook her head. He dropped his hand, turned and walked out. She wouldn’t even listen to him. On the drive back, he realized that must have been how she felt when he wouldn’t listen.
Not quite ready for the workplace, Brandon stopped at a nearby park. He passed a children’s area where a few toddlers were playing on the various climbing structures while their parents hovered nearby. He spotted a bench a few feet ahead and took a seat. A few minutes later, he realized he wasn’t exactly dressed for sitting outdoors and rolled up the sleeves of his gray dress shirt and unbuttoned an additional button. The sun was at its zenith and, although the bench sat partially shaded by a large tree, beads of perspiration dotted his forehead.
Brandon let out a frustrated breath. For the first time in his life, he understood how it felt not to have someone listen. And it didn’t feel good. Granted, he had stuck both feet into his mouth before a signal went to his brain, as Morgan had so eloquently pointed out. Now, he had lost the woman he loved. Faith was going home for good and there wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it. He glanced down at his watch, sighed heavily and stood. He had no desire to sit in a meeting this afternoon, and the job he’d wanted for as long as he could remember suddenly didn’t hold the same appeal.
Brandon retraced his steps to the car and drove to the office. He figured the time at the park would have improved his mood. But nothing had changed by the time he made it back and it was all he could do to get through the meeting. On the way back to his office, Siobhan intercepted him.
He didn’t break stride. “I’m not in the mood to talk.”
Siobhan followed him into his office and shut the door. “You don’t need to be.” Before he could reply, she said, “Sit down, Brandon, close your mouth and listen.” They engaged in a staredown and Siobhan held his gaze unflinchingly until he reluctantly dropped down in the chair. “Tell me what happened between you and Faith.”
Brandon really didn’t want to talk about Faith, especially since he was still hurt by her rejection. “I helped her after she had the accident and was just being friendly. But then things changed.” He told her about their dates, how much fun they had together, how he felt about her and how he’d messed up. He finished with, “And now she won’t listen to me.”